Admissions office reaches out via networking

By Sky Friedlander

Daily Collegian, Penn State U. via UWIRE

This week’s Spend A Summer Day marks the start of the new social media push by Penn State’s Admissions Office.

Over the course of the two-week event, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will post on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, recording the event and communicating with guests and those involved, Undergraduate Admissions Officer Alison Herget said.

One thing admissions is introducing to the Spend A Summer Day festivities is the live Twitter feed screen, Undergraduate Admissions Officer Jenna Spinelle said. Anyone who includes the hashtag #SASD10 in their tweets will show up on the screen.

This Spend A Summer Day is like a “test” for admissions, she said — if the push is a success, admissions might use sites like Twitter for more events.

“We’re looking to engage more with prospective students and their families,” Spinelle said. “We’re really not sure how it’s going to go.”

Spinelle said social networking sites could be good for connecting with students and their families, as well as with other Penn State groups and departments.

Admissions has been utilizing Facebook for about a year but has only recently started using Twitter on its own, Herget said.

“What we’re trying to do is give our visitors a new and exciting way to interact with us,” she said.

A screen displaying the Twitter feed is located in the HUB-Robeson Center, Herget said. The HUB also houses admissions’ “social media hub” where employees can upload content on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, Herget said. She said she also hopes people will use their phones throughout Spend A Summer Day and share content.

Student volunteers with Flip Video camcorders will be recording video during the event, she added.

Herget said admissions is hesitant to announce any future social networking plans because the office first wants to try it out to “see what the response is.”

Rishi Agrawal said he wouldn’t be adverse to an expansion in admissions’ presence online.

“I think those would be useful places to find answers,” Agrawl (freshman-biochemistry and molecular biology) said.

Agrawl does not follow Penn State Admissions online, but he does connect to other students on Penn State Facebook pages, like the group for Schreyer Honors College students, Class of 2014, he said.

But he said he thinks pages run by students would be something especially helpful for other students like him to find answers.

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